The history of Urdu poetry in Qatar is very old as Urdu speaking expatriates from both Pakistan and India started coming to the country as early as 1950s. Since then, different literary groups have been organising large poetic symposiums (mushaira) entertaining the residents of Qatar and providing an opportunity to the poets from outside.
This year all major literary groups have been either organising or planning to organise the symposiums online owing to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Bazm-e-Urdu Qatar (BUQ), the oldest literary association in Qatar since 1959, is one such group that recently held an online tarhi mushaira (corresponding symposium) to rekindle the love for Urdu poetry and listen to noted poets.
The online international mushaira was based on the theme of the 18th century classical Urdu poet Mir Taqi Mir (1723 – 1810).
As many as 23 poets from different parts of the world attended the symposium and recited their poetry corresponding to two selected couplets of Mir Taqi Mir.
Tarhi mushaira is a kind of symposium where poets are asked to create their own verses following the rhyming and meters of some selected couplets.
Dr Faisal Hanif, BUQ chairman, conducted the proceedings of the online symposium on Zoom. He enlivened the audiences by reciting many couplets of Mir Taqi Mir. Jaleel Nizami, known as Shair-e-Khaleel (poet of the Gulf), presided over the mushaira.
The chief guest on the occasion was Indian poet Alok Kumar Shirivastiv.
The guests of honour were; Iqbal Khalish from India and Zeenat Kauser Lakhani from Pakistan.
Dr Saad Mohamed Rafique from India recited versus of the Holy Qur’an to begin the proceedings.
Mohamed Rafique Shaad Akolvi, BUQ president, gave a detailed introduction of the literary group and its activities. Iftekhar Raghib, BUQ general secretary, welcomed all the poets and the audience. Abdul Malik Qazi from India presented Hamad, poetry written in praise of Allah.
Noted singer Abu Alkhair Khan presented a ghazal of Mir Taqi Mir. Fayaz Bukhari Kamal, BUQ joint secretary, handled and administered the online proceedings.
“BUQ invited the poets from around the world to write and present their tarhi poetry on the noted classical poet Mir Taqi Mir’s couplets. Tarhi refers to when a poet writes a ghazal following the pattern of the line given from the ghazal of the other poet. It is very challenging as the poet is restricted to compose good poetry while being confined to a set pattern,” explained Dr Faisal while talking to Gulf Times.
Giving details of the participants, he said: “As many as 23 poets presented their ghazals by participating in the online mushaira from different countries. The poets were; Nuzhat Nosheen from India, Razia Kazemi from US, Alia Taqvi from India, Dr Zafar Aslam from India, Feroz Akhtar from India, Benam Gilani from India, Dr Tariq Faiz from India, Dr Mufazal Mufeez from Qatar, Imrani Sani from India, Sadia Sadaf from India, Fareed Anwar Siddiqui from UAE, Fayaz Bukhari Kumal from Qatar, Rashid Alam Rashid from Qatar, Dr Wasi Bastavi from Qatar, Zameer Ahmed Zameer from India, Dr Ahmed Ali Barqi Azemi from India, Sarfaraz Bazmi from India, Iftekhar Raghib from Qatar, Mohamed Shaad Rafique Akolvi from Qatar, Zeenat Kauser Lakhani from Pakistan, Iqbal Khalish from India, Alok Kumar Shrivastive from India, and Jaleel Nizami from India.”
He further said: “It has been the hallmark of BUQ for decades to train young and budding poets and provide regular opportunities to established poets to share their new and creative works. However, the situation has changed since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, BUQ has started conducting online poetry symposiums.
“There are many advantages to online mushaira. There are many well-known poets who have been living outside Qatar and we have not been able to listen to them live. Through online symposiums now we can listen to their inspiring poetry. The nature of the symposiums has changed. They have now become more international. Arranging a physical symposium may cost thousands of riyals but the online version comes free of cost. We can enjoy listening to the poets of international fame while being in the comfort of our homes.”
The BUQ chairman said it was the first international online symposium by the association. A large number of people attended the event online and it will soon be uploaded on YouTube for the people to watch it again, he said.
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